Well, I am still trying to incorporate educational technology into my students' every day lives; however, we are running into trouble with gaining access to the available technology in our labs due to filters put in place by our tech team. VERY FRUSTRATING!! I know the filters are put in place to keep spam and other non-educational material out of our students' reach, but we cannot access the sites we need. My classes were even blocked from online interviews with lawyers, physicians, and interior designers this week when we were working on our 10th grade I-Search papers. It is frustrating when we try to use our time wisely then end up wasting time trying to submit a request to get the content needed unblocked!

This past week, all of my students got started on a self-selected reading book. Not only are the kids actually reading a real book, they are posting comments to my blog that I have made for each grade level. I am requiring my students to post 3 separate blogs as they progress through the book, so they actually have check points in which they must read a certain amount in a certain time. I am extremely impressed by my students' comments about their books. I was worried that they wouldn't take it seriously, but as they read, I am also posting comments about the book that I am currently reading. I am showing the classes my blog as I post so they see me modeling what I want them to do for me. It worked quite well, after unblocking my blog so they could access it at our school! I took my students to the lab for thirty minutes only to post to the blog. Yet...we were BLOCKED! I had to allow anonymous access just so they could post. UGH.

In conclusion, maybe someday our school will allow full access to the technology the rest of the world is using. I understand the need for filters, but at the same time, how are we teaching our kids to be 21st century learners with limited access?

Views: 64

Comment by Martin Sieverding on March 25, 2009 at 12:56pm
I am considered the "bad guy" at my school because I am the Network Administrator and charged with keeping the filtering in place. Because we receive eRate funds, we must abide by the Children's Internet Protection Act. This means we must have some type of filtering in place since we are receiving these federal funds. That being said, "what" we block is up for some interpretation. I agree that it is sometimes difficult to work with those filters but it is possible, at least in my school. There would be less need for filters if I could rely on all of our teachers to be vigilant in their classrooms and watch what students are doing online. However, we do not live in a perfect world as there are those teachers who would allow students to go anywhere on the Internet as long as they did not bother the teacher with any questions. Therein lies the need to set up filters. Don't get me wrong, I am all for opening up some of the types of sites you refer to as well as giving the students some direction in making good choices in this area. First we learn to walk, then we can run.
Comment by Tracy Montgomery on April 6, 2009 at 3:31pm
Yes, true, true. There are those teachers out there who just don't want to be bothered. I realize that we have tons of students who wouldn't do what they are supposed to do; however, we will never get to the point of helping our students be that 21st Century learner without a little "breathing room." I don't think we have an answer yet, actually. Our school technology guys just worked diligently ridding our system of viruses, and it is because of what freedom we do have that those viruses got through. You are definitely not the bad guy Mr. Sieverding. If it weren't for our tech guys, we would go crazy trying to figure out our computers!

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